Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Design, datable to July 1790
  • image Image 1 for SM (2) 61/5/9
  • image Image 2 for SM (2) 61/5/9
  • image Image 1 for SM (2) 61/5/9
  • image Image 2 for SM (2) 61/5/9

Reference number

SM (2) 61/5/9


Design, datable to July 1790


2 Plan of the Kings Theatre in the Hay Markett


bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot


as above, plan lettered A to W (multiple times) corresponding to key: A Piaza 30 Ft 6 in by 20 Ft 9 in / B Lobby / C Stair Case to the 5s Gallery / D Stair Case to 4D 3s Gallery // E Passage to Front Boxes // F Passages to Sides Boxes // G Stair Case to 4D Upper Boxes // DF New pitt door // AR Area, H the Pitt // I Side Boxes & I' the front Boxes // K Pitt Doors // L Stair Case to New Door way into Pitt // M Little Scene Room // O Orchestra 9 feet 3 in wide // P Stage 50 ft 8 inch Long // Q Side Wings // KL front stage Lights 8 inches wide, U part of the Stage used for fixg the Machinery // V Door way into Greate Scene Room 34.8 by 22.1 // W Door way to Dressing Rooms // X Door way to Stair Case to Top of 4D House // Y Door way to Tea Room Ocasionly [sic] open / into Stage) Z Door way to Coffe [sic] Room // AB Door way to 4D. Late Macmahoons [sic] Office // CD way to Wardrobe // GH Stage Boxes, CR Coffe [sic] Room 57 Ft 8 in by 28 Ft 4 in // DR Dressing Rooms 30 Ft 4 in Front // WC Water Closetts 14 Ft 4 in Front // DR Dressing Rooms 14 ft 4 in front / PR Painted Room 17 Ft 4 in front // GS Grand stair case 8 [ft] 1 [in] D[itto] // LTR Little Tea Room 18 [ft] 1 [in] D[itto] // TR Tea Room 22 [ft] 3 [in] // GR Gaming Room 28 1 by 28 3 // ML Markett Lane Door // KD Kings Door, and plan labelled: Easte Front Hay Markett, North upon the White horse Stable yard, New pitt / door, and some dimensions given, (pencil) 33 feet

Signed and dated

  • datable to July 1790 (see Notes)

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen and coloured washes, including yellow ochre, pink and grey, on laid paper (659 x 546)


see Notes below


J Whatman and fleur-de-lis over cartouche with GR below


This is most likely the same drawing that was delivered by Mr O'Reilly's servant on 10 July 1790 (Journal No 1). It is either a survey of the old Haymarket Theatre pre-fire, or Novoskielski's intended design. The Survey of London (op.cit.) has attributed the hand to Michael Novosielski: the hand matches a letter by him from 1784. Novosielski was the architect of the King's Theatre from 1782 to 1793: he made alterations from 1782 and rebuilt the entire structure after a fire in 1789.

The drawing was made after 1785. This is confirmed by a label on the plan: 'AB Door way to 4d. Late Macmahoons office'. The inscription refers to Parkyns Macmahon, the secretary at the King's Theatre who served at least from 1783 to 1785. It indicates that Macmahon has died, thus dating the drawing to after 1785. 'The Case of the Opera House Disputes, Fairly Stated (1784), as quoted by Highfill, Burnim and Langhans (op. cit.), records that Macmahon's position had been specially created and that he was "puff master to the trustees." He dispatched bills, received subscriptions, and handled other duties that had formerly belonged to the treasurer. For his services MacMahon received £150. He lived at No 77, Haymarket, next door to the theatre, according to the playbill of 18 June 1785. He was described as an unsavory character who had been a servitor at a convent, then a monk, then a soldier in an Irish brigade before coming to London'(Highfill, Burnim and Langhans).

As pointed out in the Survey of London (op.cit.) this design is remarkably similar to a plan for an opera house by Robert Adam (SM Adam volume 28/23). The Adam drawing is undated but it is clearly intended for the site at Haymarket.


P.H.Highfill, K.A.Burnim and E.A.Langhans, A Biographical dictionary of actors, actresses, musicians, dancers, managers and other stage personnel in London, 1660-1800, 1993, Volume 10, p. 38; Survey of London, St Anne Soho, volume XXXIV, 1966, pp. 455-464.



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).